There were barely any deal in the first few sleepy days of August, where Fiorentina and Milan were the main protagonists. La Viola signed Kevin-Prince Boateng and Pol Lirola from Sassuolo and sold Vitor Hugo to Palmeiras, hinting a switch to their defensive philosophy since they used to deploy Nikola Milenkovic at right back, but will no go with a more normal and aggressive look. The Rossoneri instead cashed in on Patrick Cutrone, who joined Wolverhampton, and substituted him with Rafael Leao from Lille, who projects to be a better fit next to Krzysztof Piatek, and then announced Ismael Bennacer from Empoli on Sunday. Juventus completed the sale of Moise Kean to Everton. Continue reading
Juventus: Mario Mandzukic (flu), Paulo Dybala (calf) and Leonardo Spinazzola (knee) have recovered from their problems, while Cristiano is sitll out. Sami Khedira, Douglas Costa and Juan Cuadrado have ramped up their activity and are close to returning, but they will not be called up in this round. Martin Caceres will miss three weeks with a thigh strain.
Napoli: Lorenzo Insigne is said to have almost recuperated from his thigh contracture and could be in the squad list in this round. David Ospina (head), Faouzi Ghoulam and Vlad Chiriches (thigh) should be in the squad in list, while Raul Albiol is not far away. Continue reading
Roma-Genoa was pretty much the only back and forth game of the weekend and it had plenty of storylines in it, so it is an easy choice for match of the round. The Giallorossi were coming off two straight 2-2 ties, with different flavor, against Inter and Cagliari and had prevailed just once in the past seven fixtures. Genoa drew in Cesare Prandelli’s debut versus SPAL and have not won since September 30th.
Eusebio Di Francesco, who has been on the hot seat for a while, made the bold move of benching Patrik Schick after two wasteful outings and opted for a three-man defense and a light front-line composed by Cengiz Under, Nicolò Zaniolo and Justin Kluivert. Genoa were without the suspended Domenico Criscito, replaced here by Ervin Zukanovic, but pretty much stuck with their usual XI, with Romulo and Darko Lazovic wide and Sandro anchoring the midfield. Continue reading
Genoa’s roller coaster Serie A season continued at the weekend, as they lost 4-1 away at Lazio.
Davide Ballardini’s side have enjoyed an inconsistent start to their 2018-19 campaign, with high scoring wins and losses so far, seeing them sitting in 11th place in the Serie A table.
After beginning the season with a 4-0 Coppa Italia win over Lecce, they then beat newly promoted Empoli, and Bologna, in the opening four games of the season.
However either side of the Bologna victory, there has been defeats to Sassulolo and Lazio, 5-3 and 4-1 respectively.
After abundant rumours, Genoa have completed their first signing of the summer: Domenico Criscito will return on a free transfer from Zenit. The 31-year-old defender leaves Russia after six years and 155 games with the Saint Petersburg club, where he won the Russian league twice.
Criscito has reportedly inked a contract that will keep him in Liguria also as an executive when he will decide to retire. In the past, he had three different stints with the Rossoblù, two of which on loan from Juventus in Serie B before the most notable one from 2008 to 2011, where he recorded 153 appearances. Continue reading
Here are the updates on the health of few players.
Juventus: Juan Cuadrado is suspended, while Stefano Sturaro and Mattia De Sciglio were in the squad list for the Coppa Italia final, so they have shaken off a foot and an Achilles injury. Giorgio Chiellini and Benedikt Howedes should remain out due to thigh injuries, but they have been called up.
Napoli: Faouzi Ghoulam made a surprise return to the squad list last week after a lengthy recover for a pair of serious knee injuries. Vlad Chiriches and Adam Ounas have been ruled out late. Continue reading
A titillating Serie A round is coming up, here are the suggested players to select.
Antonio Mirante: Bologna are not the most trustworthy team, but Verona have failed to score in their last four away games, so he could be a decent pick. His season has been solid but unspectacular as usual.
Cristiano Biraghi: Fiorentina have kept five clean sheets in the last six outings and they will take on Spal this week, which is a gutsy team but not certainly an untameable beast. He is also no stranger to doing damage on offence.
Daniele Rugani: the Juventus back-line has conceded in the last two games, but they have allowed only five goals so far at home and they will face Sampdoria, which is surely less-than-formidable on the road. He has been dependable this season and he could get a chance to start in the midst of a busy stretch of the schedule. In fact, any Bianconero defender is worth considering.
Ervin Zukanovic: the Bosnian centre-back is having an OK season and Genoa will face Crotone, which are suspect on the road.
Adem Ljajic: the Serbian attacker has won the coach over and he has been extremely effective lately, either scoring or assisting in the last three games. Their three-headed attack is humming. Torino will visit the floundering Chievo on Saturday.
Dries Mertens: he is a in little scoring slump, but he will try to snap out of it in San Siro against Milan, which will be without their starting pair of centre-backs Leonardo Bonucci and Alessio Romagnoli.
Luis Alberto: he has put his name in the scoresheet in the last two showings and assisted against Bologna, so he has stayed prolific despite the dualism with Felipe Anderson. Roma’s defence has not been as staunch as at the beginning of the year lately.
Nicolò Barella: Cagliari will challenge the wavering Udinese, which have lost eight straight matches, in a key match-up. The youngster has been one of the few bright spots for the Sardinian this season
Giovanni Simeone: the determined striker has found the net in three straight matches, with some great goals as well. Spal’s defence is rather permissive and he can definitely be streaky.
Paulo Dybala: he is coming off a hat-trick in Benevento and he is a lock to start due to the suspension in the Champions League. He has recorded seven goals in the last six matches, finally looking like himself after a hamstring injury.
Matteo Politano: he is leading the charge for Sassuolo in a crucial part of the season and he has bagged two goals in the last three games, against very worthy opponents. This time, he will go against Benevento, which have lost every single road game so far this season, conceding a bunch of goals.
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Before the last match, Milan Juric appeared to be on the hottest seat among the coaches whose job is in danger. Genoa lost to Bologna at home, but Juric was not sacked despite the break, which could have helped a newcomer. A decision that has a lot to do with the developments related to the corporate side of the club and with the lack of an extremely convincing alternative. The president Enrico Preziosi talked to the leaders of the locker room, who backed Juric. Replacing him with Andrea Mandorlini did not work last February.
Two weeks ago, the owner was on the verge of selling the club to the SRI group of the entrepreneur Giulio Gallazzi, but the four-month negotiation fell through at the last second over the finishing details. Preziosi is still looking for new investors and has signed with an advisor, while a third-party is making the due diligence: he is pretty much shopping the team around, but this stuff takes time. In such a situation, it is inevitable that the sporting side could fall into the background.
In the meantime, Preziosi has opted to hire Giorgio Perinetti as general manager. His arrival was halted by the potential sale, but the statements by the parties involved made it clear that this had been in the works for a while. Since February, Genoa operated with long-time head of the youth system Mario Donatelli has sporting director. Perinetti has great experience: before supporting Joe Tacopina in his attempt to bring Venezia back to relevancy, he spent time with Roma, Napoli and Juventus and was the main guy at Siena, Palermo and Bari.
After surviving, Juric now needs to produce. The Griffon has collected only two points so far and has yet to win a game. They have not been able to take full advantage of the easier fixtures against Sassuolo, Chievo Verona and Bologna and paradoxically they have fared better, but still came up short, in the tough games with Juventus, Lazio and Inter. As Perinetti put it, they are in a crisis from the results standpoint, but they are playing decently.
Their defence has not been good and their offense has not been consistent: a combination that does not take you very far. Against Cagliari, they will be able to field Armando Izzo, by far their best centre-back, as his six-month ban is over. Juric has tried every combination between Davide Biraschi, Luca Rossettini, Nicolas Spolli, Ervin Zukanovic and Santiago Gentiletti. The pillars he needs to rely on are Izzo and Zukanovic, who should also be tried in the central spot of the three-man backline, where Rossettini’s play has been uneven. Gentiletti has been abysmal so far, Biraschi has been up and down but has room to grow.
Pietro Pellegri has started off brilliantly but then it became clear that he is still raw and can not sustain the attack on his own. Andrej Galabinov is a little too allergic to scoring to be a regular starter in Serie A, but Gianluca Lapadula is expected to return soon and will help them in that department. The coach is also reportedly ready to move from 3-4-3 to 3-5-1-1 to make the formation stouter. A slimmed down Adel Taarabt has been a spark on the left wing and he can play as no.10 as well, while they have not got much from the third attacker, whether it was the promising Federico Ricci, Goran Pandev, Raffaele Palladino or Ricardo Centurion. A three-man midfield would feature Luca Rigoni, who was inexplicably banished but has the kind of experience that is vital in the relegation race, or one of the interesting youngsters Stephane Omeonga or Petar Brlek, alongside the staples Miguel Veloso and Andrea Bertolacci.
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